Miami Dolphins Offensive Line Woes Continue in Preseason Week 1 Win
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The Jacksonville Jaguars, the same team that sacked the quarterback a league-worst 20 times in all of 2012, was getting pressure on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill early and often in their preseason game on Friday night.
It was another reminder that while the Dolphins' biggest offseason investment was to provide their quarterback a new target in the passing game, their biggest offseason question remains their ability to protect their quarterback.
Overall, Tannehill was pressured on six of his 10 dropbacks, with five hurries and a sack.
Josh Samuda, starting at right guard in place of the injured John Jerry and Lance Louis, gave up an easy sack on Ryan Tannehill when he neglected his assignment, defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks flying through the A-gap.
The woes continued on the very next play, as defensive ends Jason Babin and Andre Branch simultaneously beat tackles Tyson Clabo and Jonathan Martin, respectively. Tannehill scrambled, and Branch shed Martin's block to chase the quarterback from behind for a two-yard gain.
Babin once again maneuvered his way toward Tannehill on the Dolphins' next offensive play.
The Jaguars defensive end simply did what he does best from the "Wide 9" technique on the outside of the offensive tackle. He got to the edge as quickly as possible, using his solid burst off the line of scrimmage to get past Clabo. From there, he just work Clabo into Tannehill's lap to create pressure.
It's hard for any offensive tackle to stop that, much less someone like Clabo who isn't revered for agility or athleticism.
At that point, though, you could tell the pressure was getting to Tannehill.
He had all the time in the world on the next play, but the dump-off to running back Lamar Miller was incomplete despite time to throw, and the pressure was right back in his face on the next play; Samuda got washed up in the battle between Babin and Clabo while trying to block Marks, which allowed Marks to get past the line and to flush Tannehill from the pocket.
Tannehill was flushed out of the pocket once on that drive, again by Marks against Samuda.
This was Samuda's primary problem all night: allowing Marks to get into his pads too easily. On this play, Samuda has a nice wide base to help him drive the defender, but he is off-balance when he initiates contact. These are all technique and timing issues that can be cleaned up.
Even if it can't be cleaned up, John Jerry and Lance Louis should be healthy enough to supplant him as the starter soon.
Tannehill rolled out on the touchdown throw to tight end Dustin Keller, but he wasn't forced out by impending pressure—although he would have been pressured by Branch up the middle and right end Pannell Egboh off the edge had he stayed in the pocket.
In all, it was a night the Dolphins offensive line would probably like to get back, but with a full month left until the season opener, there's plenty of time to correct these issues.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or via team news releases.
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